Choosing a suppressor can be a very daunting task. It seems there is a new suppressor manufacturer popping up every other week, and the manufacturers that have been doing it for years continually come to the table with new products. The vast multitude of choices, combined with the relatively limited number of people that own suppressors, makes it difficult to know the capabilities of what you are buying. Most people buy their suppressors without ever having used them or heard them before. Each new suppressor is a new experience, and the mistakes can be very costly. This marks the first suppressor review that we will be doing here at Primal Rights, with the express goal of helping eliminate those mistakes. We will try to give you as much information as possible to help you decide which suppressor fits your specific application the best.
While other sites concentrate on decibel readings, we won't really touch on that here. The amount of sound reduction is important, but it is not nearly so important as other factors. We aim to answer specific questions in regard to suppressors which are not open to the kind of user-specific variables that sound reduction is. The sound of each suppressor changes with the ammo used, and on which host weapon it's placed on. Even then, it's not so much the decibels that matter, but the "tone" of that sound. Some suppressors may have superior db reduction, but have an unpleasant tone to some people's ears. Factors such as POI shift, accuracy, functionality, ruggedness, and internal volume are much more important in our opinion. These are the things that have the most impact to the end user. Obviously, we want it to be quiet as well, and we'll do what we can to give you a comparative description of how each suppressor stacks up in terms of sound performance. Now that we've got the administrative stuff out of the way, lets dive right in and get to some good stuff!
The Spectre II is manufactured by Southeastern Weaponry Research. (SWR) SWR has been making suppressors since around 1994, so they have some history in this business. Over the years they have come to the table with some good products that have been received well by the suppressor community. In 2011, SWR was purchased by Silencerco. Since that time, SWR's products have undergone some serious upgrades, and so has their outward appearance as a company. It's obvious that the merger has been beneficial to the end user. Better products, backed by a more powerful company. This means higher quality at lower prices with better service. What's not to like! It was certainly a smart move by Silencerco, as most of their stuff has wicked first round pop. Why compete with them when you can buy them and make both companies products better?
The SWR Spectre II ships in quite an elaborate series of packaging. There is a sliding sleeve, which contains a telescoping box. It's adorned with all manner of logo's and pretty imagery. Screams high quality, which consequently screams expensive. Considering the Spectre II has a retail of $400, it leaves me wondering how much cheaper they could be if they just showed up in a white box without all the glamor.
Inside you'll find a little yellow warning card urging you to read the manual, a social media card, product registration card, dis-assembly tool and its manual, the SWR Spectre II suppressor, suppressor pouch, and the Spectre II manual. It all comes sandwiched between a couple layers of foam. Again, some very high quality glossy marketing materials and nice manuals.
SWR Spectre II Specifications:
Weight: 6.8 oz
Finish: Black Oxide
Here you see the suppressor itself. The SWR Spectre II has an outward appearance unlike that of any other suppressor. The outer body is a 3-piece design with two removable caps and a main tube. The end caps are 17-4 stainless steel with a black oxide finish, while the tube is .050" thick 316 stainless and is also finished in black oxide. The rear end cap has some aggressive flutes machined into it. This is a huge deviation from "standard" suppressor aesthetics. I wasn't sure how I felt about this at first, but in using the suppressor I came to absolutely love this feature. It made it very easy to get a firm grip on the suppressor when moving it to and from different host guns. It also makes dis-assembly with the provided tool a piece of cake. This end cap is threaded 1/2x28 to accommodate most 22lr thread pitches, at the end of the threads, there is an O-ring to ensure a tight seal against the hosts threads. This helps keep the pressurized gasses from welding the suppressor onto the host. The muzzle end cap is also very aggressive with large notches cut in a radial pattern. Very simple to remove using the aforementioned tool. This cap also has an O-ring to trap the pressurized gasses and ensure the end cap doesn't come loose.
Having both end caps removable is a blessing, and a curse. On a traditional rifle, there is no issue, but on an AR22 it is very common to have the handguards stick out past the end of the muzzle. So you slide the suppressor inside the handguards and tighten it down on the muzzle. Then when you go to remove the suppressor, often the end cap will be stuck on the barrel, and the suppressor tube will break loose from the end cap. This requires removal of the handguards in order to get the end cap off the barrel. It's a very specific situation, that can be remedied with a bit of loctite on the end cap that you'd like to stay put. In total, I would view both end caps being removable as a good feature. It makes removing the baffle stack very simple. No specialized pushers are required.
The SWR Spectre II looked a bit foreboding when attached to different host firearms, but it certainly grew on me over time. It's a personal preference thing really, as everyone will like something a bit different. I came to like it the look.
Below you'll see the baffle stack, in all its glory! The Spectre II has one of the most unique baffle systems that I've ever seen in a suppressor. It addresses several key problems that plague serviceable rimfire suppressors, which we'll get into a bit more later. As you can see, this is not a traditional K-baffle design. Not even close actually. At first look, it left me wondering if it was going to be quiet at all. It's widely accepted in the industry that some of the quietest suppressors were those with K-baffle type designs. All the baffles are the same, save one: The blast baffle. The first one in the series on the far left is indicated by a couple extra divots, one of which is visible in the below picture at the 6 O'clock position. The baffles are machined from 17-4 stainless steel and then heat treated. This gives them the purplish-gold color you see.
The baffles themselves are designed to interconnect with each other. The idea here is to seal the muzzle blast inside the stack, and not let it make contact with the outer tube. This is genius as it keeps the stack from getting welded to the tube. You can see how each baffle has a recessed lip that slides over a notch in the next baffle. In this way they kind of "click" together. The end caps on the Spectre II are also incorporated in this design. This pushes the stack together and ensures they stay tight to keep the muzzle blast contained. Stainless can be precision machined to a much thinner profile than aluminum. In this way, they have created a lot of internal volume within the space available. Stainless is also much stronger than aluminum, even when it is trimmed down thin. This is representative by the Spectre II being rated for everything up to 5.7x28. It's a very tough suppressor.
I have been using the Spectre II for a few weeks now. It's primary home has been on a Kidd Supergrade lightweight 22lr. Below you'll see the condition of the internals after being subjected to about 700rnds of CCI Subsonic HP's, with a little Wolf Match Target mixed in. The end caps were very easy to remove, and the baffle stack fell out easily when I tipped the tube up. This is something that would never happen with other suppressors such as a Gemtech Alpine or Huntertown Arms Guardian. Both of those suppressors would take some coaxing to get the stack out, and the end caps would be pretty stubborn to get loose after that amount of firing. As you can see, rimfire ammo is extremely dirty, and there is a thick layer of crud built up in these baffles. The good news is that due to the rugged stainless design, you can use all manner of harsh chemical solvents to clean them, without worrying about the chemicals eating your suppressor.
The SWR Spectre II did not seem to affect accuracy, and had minimal POI shift. The target below was fired at 25yds using a Savage MkII TR which was cut to 16" and threaded. Ammo used was Wolf Match Target. It was just cold enough for the lube on this ammo to be affected, so this isn't representative of the rifle's capability, yet effectively demonstrates whether or not the suppressor affects accuracy. On the top row of targets, I fired five 5-shot groups without the suppressor, while the subsequent rows were fired with the Spectre II attached. Accuracy did not seem to be adversely affected, with the smallest group of the session coming through the suppressor. That's a group in the .0's for sure. That's 5 rounds through a hole you can't shove a pencil through without tearing paper. I thought I was firing blanks for a second, but hung in there, trying to make sure I didn't blow that group. Conditions were against me during this testing, as there was a gusty 3-10mph wind that was coming and going as it pleased.
Going by the target below, it would indicate a slight POI shift, as the unsuppressed groups were slightly to the right of center, while the suppressed groups were centered quite well above the POA. The shift is pretty small, as it is about 1/4" at 25yds. Keep in mind here that I had to get up off my position in order to attach the suppressor, so this shift could very easily be a result of a slightly different position behind the rifle. Anyone that has pursued extreme rimfire accuracy knows that it's harder to shoot 22lr consistently than any centerfire. Adding a single ounce to the end of the barrel has proven to affect accuracy for smallbore benchrest shooters. It could also be a slightly different wind condition, as it doesn't take much to move a 22lr a quarter of an inch. In all, I would say the Spectre II had no measurable affect on the precision or accuracy of the host rifle.
How loud is it? I know that's the next question on everyone's mind. The Spectre II is quiet. Extremely quiet. Point in fact, it is the quietest 22lr suppressor I have ever used, with the exception of integral suppressors or larger high-volume thread-on cans. There is no noticeable first round pop, and the tone is very low and pleasing. It is by far the quietest suppressor I've used on my buckmark. Suppressor designs are really put to the test on short barrel pistols, and this can truly does the job. You would need ears that could hear a mouse fart in the grass a hundred yards out to complain about the sound reduction of the Spectre II.
I'm a high volume shooter. It's not uncommon for me to burn through 5,000 rounds of rimfire ammo in a single month. As a result, I have to constantly take my suppressors apart for cleaning. If I don't, they get stuck together and need a trip to the factory to come apart. This means that most of my 22lr suppressors are stuck together all the time. After several thousand rounds, they start to get louder. It takes about 10-20k before this happens, but it does happen. I'm really liking the fact that I'll be able to go at least a thousand rounds before taking this suppressor apart without worrying if it's going to get welded shut!
Prior to this review, the Gemtech Alpine had been my go-to high end suppressor. It was quiet, light, and serviceable. The SWR Spectre II is now my new go-to high end suppressor. It is tough, quiet, easily serviceable, and has no perceptible FRP.
If you are in the market for a bomb-proof rimfire suppressor, call the number at the top of the page to get a Spectre II for yourself. We have plenty in stock!